Politics Channels Hatred
By Arnold Kling
In Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman wrote,
What the market does is to reduce greatly the range of issues that must be decided through political means
Thanks to Don Boudreaux for the pointer.
Those who prefer government to markets will argue that markets embody greed. Thus, markets channel a base emotion. Still, one can say that it is more constructive to channel greed through markets than through thievery.
What I want to suggest is that government embodies an even more base emotion: hatred. Politics channels the base emotion of hatred. A lot of political actions derive from hatred of the other. Still, one can say that it is more constructive to channel hatred through political action than through war.
Between now and the election this November, you might think about viewing politics as an exercise in the expression of hatred. Think of this when you read Krulong or listen to Limbannity. Watch the extent to which the Republican and Democratic conventions turn into hatefests. Think about Republicans bashing illegal immigrants or Democrats bashing Chick-Fil-A.
I do not think that you can say that the only thing that motivates people in politics is hatred. For that matter, one cannot say that the only thing that motivates people in markets is greed. But I do think that ignoring the role that hatred plays in politics is as unwise as ignoring the role that greed plays in markets.
Like Milton Friedman, I prefer to keep the scope of politics limited.